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Encore Seven Egg-Shell Prestige 15WS MK2 EL34 Parallel SE Valve Amp Encore Seven Egg-Shell Prestige 15WS MK2 EL34 Parallel SE Valve Amp Listed On 04.03.2020
Last Update On 04.03.2020
Description Original Description is in English, other language texts are translations and can contain errors. EnglishDeutschTurkish

UPC:

Encore Seven Egg-Shell Prestige

Condition:

Used

Weight:

20.00 KGS

Minimum Purchase:

1 unit

Maximum Purchase:

1 unit

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Calculated at Checkout


Single ended valve amp with EL 34 tubes.

Excellent, apart from a couple of paint chips at rear of casework.

A review:

The audio market is unusual these days in having numerous manufacturers who are artisans, hand crafting with care their beloved products for what seems a diminishing market. It is rare to find an artisan who is prepared to design and manufacture something like an integrated amplifier that not only looks different but also uses a circuit design that is beyond rare. When you first look at the Egg-Shell you may think (avoid looks for now) we have a conventional push pull EL34 tube amplifier. In fact the Egg-Shell does use EL34s but in parallel single ended configuration which is rare but not unique. What makes this amplifier different is that the EL34s are wired in triode mode. The output tubes are also setup with automatic bias adjustment so there is no need for a meter and fiddly adjustments.

The input section contains a brace of EF86 and ECC83 with my example using a nice pair of Mullard ECC83 and Harmonix EF86. The rear panel sports the ubiquitous IEC main input socket, three single-ended RCA phono inputs and the now standard 4/8 ohm 4mm banana plug and spade connectors.

Now back to the looks. We have had amplifiers with the valves laid out in a "V" format before, the EAR Yoshino V-12 is an example, though the lovely valve collection is hidden behind some hideous folded, perforated metal covers. In the case of the Egg-Shell the valves are covered to protect those little wondering fingers whilst you can still see the wonderful glowing tubes through the glass front.

The top is simply and adequately held in place using a magnetic retention system enabling quick removal when you want admire the layout more closely. The valves are further enhanced with mirror clear, chrome plated metal panels behind making the amplifier look fabulous. To add to the unusual layout is a volume control that is a horizontal wheel with the small knob above being the input selector with the selection indicated by illuminated numerals. When I first saw the Egg-Shell Prestige amplifier I thought the layout at the front a bit odd and was not convinced over the usability. In practice the Egg-Shell has been a delight to use, the volume control works well and with the addition of markings to indicate the position it is refreshing change from the usual solution. The Egg-Shell is very quiet in operation with no obvious noise from the speakers or amplifier. As mention earlier the amplifier is very detailed, the resolution is something I have not heard before and this means the sound stage is better resolved and believable. The downside is poor recording quality is revealed and so some previously acceptable albums become more difficult to listen to.

In my experience I have always found that getting the volume setting right for a particular recording was very important. Below a certain level the sound seems to collapse and become less interesting. With the Egg-Shell this behaviour is much less obvious, so listening at low volumes is a much more interesting experience. You can listen at night without annoying the household or neighbours!

For a valve amplifier the Egg-Shell has very tight bass, possibly an artefact of the solid state high voltage power supply. The solid bass is a welcome change though it is offset by the treble being less sweet than you might expect from from a valve amplifier. For those who have the right speakers, and prefer the softer bass and sweeter treble, there is a version of the amplifier with just the one EL34 per channel and valve rectification for the HT supply. The downside of this more traditional design is less power at 9w per channel, and consequently you will need speakers with a sensitivity of more than 90dB/W.

When paired with my LS3/5a speakers the combination gives a very compelling presentation, tight, clean and sufficiently detailed and with an adequate volume level. You can annoy everyone if you want! My favourite recent track from Elton John is The Bridge from The Captain & the Kid album, Elton's voice is beautifully presented, dead centre and with clear articulation, whilst the backing vocals hang above and behind. The piano is rich in tone, and the timing just about right, some systems can sound slow which is not the case here.

Moving on to a wonderful recording of the Allegri Miserere by the Tallis Scholars, the Egg-Shell and LS3/5a combination give a very natural and finely detailed presentation. The singers in the foreground contrast beautifully with those in the background ,who hang way back in the acoustic yet are clear and fully featured. In some systems I have used, the background singers can be very vague and difficult to make out. As an extreme contrast I put the Michael Jackson album This is it disc 1 and my favourite MJ tacks Billie Jean and Beat it, the beat (rhythm or timing in audiophile speak) was infectious, this prompted me to crank up the vinyl collection and the original Jackson album of Thriller to see how the same tracks compared. I have to admit it was a little disappointing. Perhaps the LP was worn out as it has been played hundreds of times.

The sound was gritty and a bit on the harsh side, usually it is the digital sources that sound this way! In order to let the vinyl replay system redeem itself I popped on New Favourite, the 2001 recording by Alison Krauss and Union Station, immediately things were better, the inter play between the dobro and banjo on Choctaw Hayride was clear with great rhythm and timing. The instruments were portraid most realistically, you could almost see the two musicians sitting in front of you. It was so good I had to play the album all the way through which is unusual for me when writing a review as time is short.

Conclusions

It is very nice to see an artisan manufacturer expressing their skills in their own way and not following the herd! The circuit, functional and style design are different to anything that has passed my way before. The functional and style differences have not compromised the usability in anyway for me. It did take a few hours to appreciate how well these differences have been thought through and become used to the layout. The looks for me are stunning, and warrant a nice rack on which to display the Egg-Shell.

The sound is very revealing and, when setup well with the right speakers, very rewarding

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